Thursday, October 23, 2014

Signature in the Schools - Anne and Emmett

Signature in the Schools has long sought out to expand as much as possible. We as an educational organization want to spread the joy of interacting with the theatrical arts to as many people as humanly possible. The following production will help us reach out to an even greater number of individuals we had otherwise been unable to reach due to time, resources and barriers. There just isn't enough time in the day to do all the things we want to do here at Signature Theatre!
A young Anne Frank.

Through Arlington Public Schools , in association with Signature in the Schools program, is proud to present Anne and Emmett by Janet Langhart Cohen. The production, which features two Arlington County high school students and two professional actors, Christopher Bloch and Ashley Ware, focuses on the life and times of Anne Frank and Emmett Till.

The play itself is comprised of a fictional meeting between the two individuals. Anne is seen as a hopeful and inspiring figure for the Jewish people while the bright and hopeful Emmett is a rallying beacon of support for African-Americans. Over the course of the play, both Anne and Emmett share parts of their lives with one another and see how much they have in common.
Otto Frank, Anne's father.

Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank was a young diarist and writer in the early 20th century. One of the most talked about victims of the Holocaust during World War II, Anne’s wartime diary, The Diary of a Young Girl, has inspired millions and been the basis for many different plays and films. In May of 1940, Anne and her family were trapped in Amsterdam by the German occupation of the Netherlands. As Jewish persecution increased the family went into hiding in concealed rooms in the building where Anne's father worked. After hiding for two years, the group was betrayed and sent to concentration camps in Germany. Anne was ultimately transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where she died of typhus in 1945. Anne’s diary survived and was later published by her father following the war to keep her spirit and memory alive in 1947.

Emmett Till
The other driving force behind this play is none other than Emmett Till. Emmett Louis Till was an African-American teenager from the early 20th century. Emmett was from Chicago, Illinois, and in 1955 was visiting his relatives in the Mississippi Delta region, when he supposedly flirted with the white 21-year-old married proprietor of a small grocery store there. Several nights later, the husband of the woman, Roy, and his half brother J.W. took Till away to a barn, where they beat him and gouged out his eyes. The pair shot him through the head and disposed of his body in the Tallahatchie River. The subsequent trial and handling of the Emmett Till case caused a sensation among the African American community and eventually led to the start of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States of America.
Roy and J.W. celebrating their release
and success following the trial for
Emmett's murder.

Both Anne Frank and Emmett Till bring incredible history and lessons to contemporary audiences. Signature Theatre is elated to bring this informative and important show production to the students, faculty and individuals of Arlington County. This production in particular is incredibly relevant in today’s society, as it help teach and highlight just how destructive prejudice and bigotry can be.

There will be one public performance of Anne and Emmett on November 8th at 2 PM at WakefieldHigh School. Tickets are available online at


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